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California-based law firm Baum Hedlund was founded by Church of Scientology lawyers and has had close ties to the cult for decades. It is most notoriously known in recent years for litigation targeting mainstream psychiatry and the use of antidepressants, a money bonanza tort blitz that’s gone on for more than a decade. The flow of settlement dollars in dubious cases has reportedly propped up the finances of a once-tottering cult, setting the stage for the ambulance-chasing litigation by Baum-Hedlund targeting biotechnology advocates.

The...

This article was originally published at Leaps Mag. It is reprinted with permission.

It turns out that, despite the destruction and heartbreak caused by the COVID pandemic, there is a silver lining: Scientists from academia, government, and industry worked together and, using the tools of biotechnology, created multiple vaccines that surely will put an end to the worst of the pandemic sometime in 2021. In short, they proved that science works, particularly that which comes from industry. Though politicians and the public love to hate Big Ag and Big Pharma, everybody comes begging for help when the going gets tough.

The change in public attitude is tangible. A ...

"Well, we believe first of all that, that human beings are probably the animal on earth best designed for mistake making compared to any other animal there is. … When you do make a mistake, we do have a philosophy, which we call the five As, which is first be aware you made it. If you're not aware, you're nowhere….Number two, acknowledge it. Number three, apologize for it. Number four, act on it. And number five, apply additional generosity. And we have found time and time again, this happens all day long, because again, restaurants just like everything else in life are just a series of mistakes."

Danny Meyer

 

The researchers...

Every decent science writer has, at some point in his or her career, been called a "corporate shill." It's a rite of passage.

If a science writer defends GMOs as safe and effective, he's called a Monsanto shill. If he says that vaccines are also safe and effective, he's a shill for Big Pharma. Defending America's conventional farmers results in being labeled a shill for Big Ag or Big Dairy. Stating the objective truth that our food supply is relatively safe results in being called a shill for Big Food. There's no way around it. If a science writer defends good science, he's called a shill.

The cretins making such accusations are the usual suspects: Anti-vaxxers, anti-GMO(rons),...

Pop quiz: What do the New York Times, Jeffrey "the yogic flying instructor" Smith, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have in common?

Answer: They all shamelessly lie about glyphosate to make money. (You get full credit if you answered, "They are all bad sources of science information.")

Danny Hakim, a journalist (I'm using that word rather loosely) who writes for the New York Times, promotes conspiracy theories about American agriculture. He once wrote an article comparing pesticides to "Nazi-made sarin gas." And he followed that up with another...

Do you think video games have led to more violent attacks by young people? You are not alone. Lots of people do. It was in every major newspaper because a meta-analysis once showed it was so.  But then another meta-analysis showed that belief is false.

Journalists gushed over both claims(1) even though one was suspect to anyone who understands the nature of selection bias in meta-analyses. So let's discuss what a meta-analysis is and what it can and cannot do. 

What meta-analysis is: It is just what it sounds like, an analysis of analyses, which is better than a literary criticism of literary criticisms, though in...

On the verge of a “national emergency,” regulatory experts from the National Health Service (NHS) Improvement body just released their latest review which reveals a crisis in workforce shortages. One in eleven jobs is vacant with nursing staff vacancies up 17% in only the last three months.

As BBC Health reports, this reality comes after “sustained efforts by ministers and NHS bosses to tackle the shortages, including a new pay deal and recruitment and retention campaigns.” Leadership referenced the situation as painting a “bleak picture” to acknowledging the burdens of increased demand, employee shortages...

1. None of you are naive, so it won't surprise you to learn that in Manhattan, there is a definitive political skew, which bleeds over into what science they accept. And in academia there is a skew so overt it can only be discrimination. And in journalism there is a political skew so overt it's both of the aforementioned.

So it won't surprised you to learn that Dan Fagin (email dan.fagin@nyu.edu), Charles Seife (email charles.seife@nyu.edu), and other "professors" in the NYU Journalism group, are defending the vaccine and agriculture deniers at Organic Consumers Association and their puppet sites. It also won't surprise you to learn that the...

Jurors in California have awarded $289 million to a man who claimed that his cancer was due to Monsanto’s herbicide glyphosate, even though that is biologically impossible. Even the judge acknowledged that there was no evidence of harm. Yet, trial lawyers manipulated a jury’s emotions and the public’s misunderstanding of science to score another jackpot verdict.

The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, claims that glyphosate gave him non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that occurs when the immune system goes awry. There are three major problems with this claim.

First, as stated above, glyphosate does not cause cancer because it does not harm humans. It is an herbicide, so it is only toxic to plants. There is no known biological mechanism by which glyphosate could cause cancer,...

The Gray Lady has gotten raunchy in her old age. News has just broken that the New York Times's national security reporter, Ali Watkins, was sleeping with a source who worked as an aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee. That source has now been arrested as part of an investigation into leaks of classified information.

It's long been known that journalism, like the legal profession, attracts its fair share of agenda-driven sleazebags who prioritize half-truths and personal ambition over honor and veracity, perhaps none more so than the New York Times. Back in 2003, Jayson Blair, a reporter for the NYT, resigned because he plagiarized and...